Above, check out a gallery of 20+ stars, then and now!
Twice a year, I get on a train to New Jersey in the early morning hours, spend a day hustling to get autographs and pic-withs from celebrities who sell those things at an event called Chiller Theatre, then attempt to make it home in one piece. I've had two disastrous experiences—a crippling snowstorm and the time I was overwhelmed by a virus. This time, the worst thing that happened to me was spending hours waiting for a signed picture with Honeymooners star Joyce Randolph, who most people I told the story to thought was long dead. (SPOILER ALERT: She's not.)
For the second time, I arm-twisted my friend John to be my starfucking wingman. How I got him to meet me at 7AM and carry my bag and take all my pic-withs, I'll never know. But I think he has a couple more in him before he refuses the job, which he will...eventually.
He was assisting—and upstaging?—the Baywatch boys.
Our first roadblock was when we arrived and no shuttle from the Sheraton was there to greet us at the station. A serious-faced young nerd took it upon himself to call the place and, in an almost alarmingly professional tone, inquire as to the fucking whereabouts of our transporation, only to be told they weren't supposed to have shuttles until after 10AM (an hour after the early-bird tickets we held went into effect), but would send one ASAP. Long minutes passed until he called back, only to be told the hotel wouldn't send its first shuttle until 10:50AM! It was beyond stupid for them to leave people at the station like that, though they passively blamed Chiller.
We paid $20 for a town car (the driver was dozing near the train tracks), but the kid rode free since he'd been our mouthpiece.
Keep reading for my take on the stars I encountered...
Mulgrew had better win—she gives one of the best performances I've ever seen on TV.
The Emmy nominations are in, and I'm happy Orange Is the New Black got so much love...including for trans woman Laverne Cox! We've come a long way since Milton Berle. (Though I'm sad the men were overlooked—they're fantastic in their supporting roles.)
The Normal Heart was also showered with attention.
Meanwhile, that Ellen Burstyn—a brilliant actress with many amazing performances behind her—could be nominated for her ridiculous performance in the ridiculous Flowers in the Attic should make everyone involved realize that the Emmys will starfuck any movie star any time they deign to appear on the small screen.
Full list of Emmy nominees after the jump, with my predictions in blue...
I hired my sweet pal Brad as my videographer and met him at the Westin Bonaventure just in time to check in and take our places. I kind of hate how the carpet was set up—the guests were allowed to congregate behind us to stargaze, which was distracting. But it was nothing compared to the women two spots down from me whose entire goal was to flash a huge "FREE GAY HUGS!" sign and video themselves receiving said hugs from roughly two-thirds of the celebrities who walked. (And I thought I was lame with my aggressive pic-with requests!) They were so damn loud! Luckily, they didn't ruin any of my interviews, but only by sheer luck.
Brad's mic needed batteries (he's blond; sorry, Brad) so I wound up videoing my own first chat, with Jennifer Tyrrell. She's the lesbian mom recently booted as a den mother by the virulently homophobic Boy Scouts of America. Smart woman and immediately likable. Unreal that they're getting away with that crap. I was a cub scout (I bailed on Webelos mainly because...what the fuck is a Webelo???) and fondly remember my Pinewood Derby racing days as well as the hillbilly band we assembled for a talent night. Not to mention the father/son cook-off, in which my father and I had a well-appreciated coconut cream pie. But still, fuck the Scouts.
My first stars were Angela Featherstone (STUH-nning, but my campadre confessed she had been an ice queen on a recent shoot) and Michelle Paradise of Exes & Ohs. No Megan Cavanagh, but they were delightful.
Next, I snagged Grant Gustin of Glee. I don't really follow the show, but no one that cute is getting past me without a third degree. He's adorable and quite articulate, even if he refers to gay people as "homosexuals," which totally didn't offend me because he was totally doing it to sound smart, not homophobic. I had a homosexual crush on various parts of him.
Max Adler from the same show was equally adorable and charming. He's passionate about his role, even though it came as a total shocker that his bullying character would be written as a late-blooming man-lover.